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After years of lugging around huge gear, I am ready for my ‘retirement setup’. I need to downsize from the Hammonds (with Leslie of course), Yamaha Baby Grands, Moogs, Arps, Helpinstills, Korgs, Nords, Yamahas, Rolands and my beloved ENSONIQ’s (just blew up #5). I have a very specific setup in mind. This will also play into my mad-scientist project of the year. More on that later.


The general idea is to use a small (ish) midi key controller (un-weighted) to talk to a sound box in a rack. I will have no problems finding a controller, but don’t know diddly about modern modules. Here are my specific needs--if this were a perfect world:

1. Medium important sounds: Light backing strings, Fat Brass (80s analog sound), Bass

2. CRITICAL SOUNDS: Piano, Organ WITH GOOD LESLIE EMULATOR. Fat old-school MOOG (sawtooth, mono) with glide, vibrato and bend.

3. USB sound editing (from PC) would be a huge plus.

4. Splits and layers would be nice but aren’t critical. I don't need to do huge multi-track productions. Just wanna make some nice noise at high volume.

5. Small and not too spendy.


How about a Yamaha Motif Rack ES? I was reading that the originals had latency issues, but have since been solved. Korg Triton Rack looks too big for me. Both seem to have decent sounds and editing but may be more than I need. I am only looking to do single (or split) sound in a live application. Any other simpler suggestions?


Thanks in advance, guys.
 
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SeaGtGruff

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Are you talking about a home/studio setup that will be stationary, versus something for the road?

If so, then for your critical sounds I would imagine that your best option might be a computer running software such as Arturia's V Collection, rather than modules in a rack-- but I'm not familiar with the various sound modules, either, so someone else might be able to recommend something that would fill your bill with respect to your critical sounds.

I'm not suggesting that you shouldn't get a sound module or two if you want to, just that you might want to start by looking at which of your needs could be filled by software instruments; that way you won't waste any time looking for a possibly nonexistent hardware sound module that has acceptable versions of those particular sounds.

Also, a decent DAW should let you create splits and layers galore, even if your MIDI keyboard controller is limited to transmitting on just one channel.

One of the nice things about software is that many companies let you test drive their DAWs or virtual instruments for free trial periods, which is something you generally can't do with hardware sound modules.
 

happyrat1

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A Waldorf Blofeld Desktop or a Moog Mother 32 would handle a wide variety of MOOGy sounds while a Roland Integra 7 would handle the bread and butter sounds pretty well.

Neither one is vintage gear however and you'd spend at least a couple of thou putting those together.

Gary ;)
 
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Thanks for the replies, guys. My needs are STRICTLY live use. Running a single channel controller board (possibly two). My budget is minimal (less than 700) as I no longer want to earn with it. I am trying to downsize in a big way, so a single box only. You mentioned a soft synth (I have pcs and tablets etc...). Are they really fast and reliable enough for live use? I love the idea of being able to carefully hone my six or seven sounds, but don't want something too 'gadgety'---did I just make up a word?
 

happyrat1

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My advice is to stick with the Korg Triton Rack or Yamaha Motif Rack or a used Roland Sound Canvas then. That'll set you back about $350 to $550USD if you shop around.

That's the only way you're going to bring it all home for under $700 USD.

And forget about the MOOG replacement. Maybe find a Used Novation Bass Station for another $300 USD or so.

Simply not doable within that budget.

Gary ;)
 
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Thanks Gary. I'm still leaning towards the Motif. Is there any type of software that I can edit sounds for it? I'm sure I can squeeze a passable replica of a Moog out of it with some tweaking. I have heard the rest of the basic sounds from it and they are ok. GOTTA have that mono synth for Head East, the Cars, Styx, ELP, Edgar Winter...... Do you know any owners? Search didn't bring up any active ones. Maybe I should start a new thread specifically looking for THAT GUY
 
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happyrat1

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Sorry to say I have no idea what sort of editors are available for vintage rack modules.

Chances are you'll only find versions for old operating systems like Win XP or Win 98 anyway.

Maybe Soundtower? Korg used to license out their software to those guys until they got smart and dumped them. My old TR76 required a Soundtower Editor that I wasted my money on and my current Kurzweil PC3K8 also uses Soundtower software which I fortunately didn't have to pay for but is still buggy as hell, crashing and corrupting the entire memory of the keyboard. Needless to say, I prefer to struggle with my edits on the keyboard itself instead of using that crappy POS software.

All in all a quick Google Search on "Yamaha Motif XX Editor Software" will bring up a million hits and maybe the one or two people who are out there actively supporting those antiques these days anyway.

Meanwhile don't be too quick to dismiss a low end VA synth like the Bass Station since you can always hook it up to a controller and use it as a full manual anyway.

Actually Roland has a whole line of Boutique Synths and modules out these days that are recreations of famous boards from the past.

Personally if I were looking at vintage modules these days I'd go for the Triton Rack with the Expansion Board for AI synthesis instead of the Yamaha. Especially if I was looking for synth sounds.

But then again that's just my personal preference. Yamaha has a good reputation for acoustic instrument reproduction but Korg and Roland are better known for their freaky deaky synth sounds :)

Gary ;)
 

SeaGtGruff

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If you don't mind using a computer, laptop, or tablet onstage (some people do, for various reasons), then how well it can perform depends heavily on how many virtual instruments you're trying to run at once, how fast its CPU is, and how many processors it has. Arturia makes great soft synths-- their Modular V is the closest I'll ever come to owning a Moog Modular-- and you can buy them separately if you don't want to buy the entire collection. Of course, it's a lot less expensive to buy the collection than to buy them separately, and from what I've seen they have a 50%-off sale about once a year, so if you sign up for their emails you can grab the collection when it's on sale.

As for the Motif, I believe there are editors available for it-- probably including iPad apps for it (so far Yamaha hasn't created any apps for non-iOS tablets, other than Windows desktop apps, although there might be third-party apps for Android)-- but I'm not familiar with any of them. I'm referring to a Motif keyboard, not a rack module, but I'd think that anything for the keyboard should also apply (more or less) to a rack module. And there are any number of XG editors that should also work for sound tweaking.
 
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I'm a meat and potatoes guy (and gravy cause I spent so much time in Canada). How about a soft synth for live? I see Roland even has a Sound Canvas App. I like the idea that I can make it so tiny. Any experts here?
 

happyrat1

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Personally I'm not crazy about the thought of a computer on stage. One blue screen in the middle of a chorus and that's a very embarrassing 3 minute reboot. :p

Then again, those who do swear by soft synths on stage tend to swear by Apple iBooks and iPads.

Unless you actually own one already they also come with a pretty steep price tag.

The nice thing about hardware synths and modules is that they are battle tested BEFORE they hit the store shelves :)

Gary ;)
 
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